Gardening with Your Kiddos

I love the outdoors. Like even July in Houston outdoors. Weird, I know. I feel like regardless of the month or the temperature outside, my whole family is happier if we spend a good amount of time each day outside. So the idea of gardening has always sounded fun, but totally intimidated me. We’ve been renting the past few years, so I haven’t done much gardening. But we just bought our home, and I’m ready to do something with the yard!

I remember gardening with my mom growing up and loving it so much. I want my kids to experience that – to know the fun of getting your hands dirty, playing with earth worms, digging trenches and holes, watering, watching little green sprouts come out of the ground, eating the fruits and veggies, and watching those little sprouts become beautiful flowers.

HMB Gardening

So about a month ago I decided I was just going to do it. Here are a few lessons this newbie has learned…

Tip #1 :: Check the weather.

Yeah, this would’ve been a really smart thing to do. Really smart especially when living in Houston. Just because the past three weeks have felt like you live in L.A., you never know, there might be the great freeze of 2014 coming. And that’s exactly what happened. Two days after I got my goods, the backyard was frozen for days. Rookie mistake. Never ever EVER again.

Tip #2 :: Make a little bit of a plan.

When you go to any nursery there are about 10 billion options. It’s more overwhelming than shopping at Ross. {Anyone else have a near panic attack there?} I’m visual, so I drew a {very rough} map of my yard and what I wanted where. I drew out where I was going to dig up a bed. I wrote down how many flower pots I had and what size they were. And I wrote down what amount of sun each area or pot received {this is huge when buying flowers and seeds}.

If you are like me and are totally clueless on what kind of things you’d like, Pinterest was super helpful for this. I knew I wanted an insect repelling plant, so I searched that. And I also looked up low maintenance and Houston enduring plants and flowers.

Get a tree! Right now is the best time to plant them, and they are crazy cheap. {I’ve seen citrus trees for as cheap as $20!} This will be super fun for your kiddos to watch grow over the years. And so fun for you to take pictures of them growing as the tree grows. My parents planted a tree in our front yard right after I was born, and I loved watching that tree grow up alongside me.

I got a couple of planters and filled them with herbs. {These are really cheap and allow for immediate gratification for the kiddos.} My daughter pulls  some herbs off and snacks on them almost every time we are outside.

And finally grab some bags of seeds. These are super cheap and will be fun for everyone.

Tip #3 :: Set a budget and look for coupons.

You could go crazy with spending. It adds up so quick. When you start, figure out what is affordable for you and stick with it. It would be horrible to spend a ton and then realize you aren’t even into it, then all those flowers and cash are wasted. {Basically this is like buying a fish before you buy a puppy.}

Also, many places offer coupons on their website. So check out their website before going in and print it off. If you happen to see an ad for another place, can’t hurt to bring that along too and see if they will price match.

Tip #4 :: Take your kid{s} with you to pick it out.

Let them pick out a flower or two and some seeds. This will be so fun for them to have some ownership. This is hard for me because I’m a bit of a control freak. So if you are like me in that way, maybe pick out a couple that you really like and then let your kiddo choose from those options. {Clearly I have issues.}

Also, if you have some extra wiggle room in the budget, get your kiddo their own gardening tools. {You will be able to find this much cheaper not at the nursery!}

Tip #5 :: Have fun and get dirty!

Let your kids get messy…and get messy with them!

Tip #6 :: Be realistic with your kids involvement in this.

Depending on your kids age and personality, you may have all of 30 seconds of their attention. That’s okay. Let them just run around. I typically pull out a bucket of chalk for my 3 year old and let her have some independent time outdoors coloring on the sidewalk or outdoor chalkboard, or just playing on the play set and grass. We all grew up playing playing outside – our kids need that creativity time as well.

Tip #7 :: Water!

Be sure to take note how often to water. From what I’ve read this is a science that takes time to learn. Apparently we will figure it out. But start with what they recommend and then adjust as needed.

Tip #8 :: What else? Share on social media!

Like I said, I’m a total newbie. Any experienced green thumbs or fellow newbies have tips? Please share them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag @HoustonMomsBlog so we can learn a thing or two also.

 

And because people always ask – yep, that’s an outdoor chalkboard. Super easy to make! Here’s how ::

First search Pinterest: “Outdoor Chalkboard.” Go to a hardware store and buy a sheet of plywood. {I ended up getting the cheapest one in the size I wanted.} Grab either a few cans of Chalkboard spray paint or regular paint. {I prefer spray paint personally.} Layer it on. Make sure each layer gets a chance to dry before the next coat. I think mine took three layers. {Maybe four cans of spray paint? Buy more than you think and return the left over or use for a different project.} It’s totally fine to use outdoors. We just let the rain wash away the chalk or I’ll spray it down if we haven’t had rain in awhile. We’ve had ours for about a year and a half, and it’s still fine. The cost of this is crazy cheap for what you get {definitely under $50}.

One Response to Gardening with Your Kiddos

  1. Jenn L April 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    These are great tips Becky! We wanted to start something this year, but baby 3 is making that a bit difficult. Next year will be the one! Did you plant any other fruits or veggies? Cracks me up that the girls snack on herbs!

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